Director Steven Soderbergh announced he was retiring from film after 2013’s Side Effects, but it always seemed unlikely. Soderbergh was far too prolific a filmmaker to have one believe that he would completely hang it up at a relatively young age (he turned 50 in 2013). The Baton Rouge-bred Soderbergh has now thankfully returned to filmmaking with the charming low-key caper comedy Logan Lucky.
Channing Tatum plays a blue-collar West Virginia man laid off from his job because of his bad knee. Shortly thereafter, he launches a plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway. He enlists his one-armed brother (Adam Driver) and sister (Riley Keough). But they need someone with experience in breaking into vaults, so they turn to Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). But Joe is in prison, and one of the film’s clever gimmicks is that they first have to break Joe out of jail, then perform the heist, then sneak Joe back into jail to serve the remainder of his sentence.
The cast is strong from top to bottom. The script, by newcomer Rebecca Blunt (there are rumors that the name is a pseudonym), features a heist that’s complex without being overwhelming or confusing. Too often, scripts out-clever themselves and Logan Lucky manages the tricky feat of being complicated but still making sense. The film also admirably gets laughs without falling back on gross-outs or exceedingly obvious jokes the way too many comedies do these days.
Logan Lucky is a welcome return to the silver screen from a great director. Let’s hope he keeps making movies.